Originally published in Evrensel (10/24/2018)
by Nuray SANCAR
This is also a time when the cry of ‘No Pasaran’ against Franco is heard. There is not only the experience of fascism but that of those fought against it.
It was easy enough to regard fascism as a local defect which emerged in Germany and Italy, and as a costly deviation described with appeal to the psychopathy of individuals like Hitler and Mussolini who undersigned the deaths of millions of people and destruction of many others in concentration camps and which has dragged Europe into calamity by causing a worldwide war resulting in the deaths of millions of people. So that such a defect “never again” was experienced, the world had later galvanised and had also treated it as though it was a cancerous cell severed from the healthy body. Within the optimistic atmosphere of the post-war years, as the years passed, fascism was an ominous and distant memory, a calamity overcame which rationality and intelligence would not allow recurring.
Yet the political current named reservedly as right populism is developing, leaving the space of optimism to deep concerns by forcing the results in each election taking place in countries which represent the cradle, symbol and the most advanced forms of Western Democracy. And as for millions of people whose lives have been destroyed by the neoliberal offensive packages implemented loyally by the ‘leftist’ or social democrat governments of the past and who regard the cost of war declared by their own countries in far lands and the poverty it led to as having to share their bread and work with migrants, vote for these parties. We are at a historical turning point where the dreams of beautiful bygone days pumped up by nationalist-populist-fascist parties accompanied by pledges of reinvigorating past empires have become substantially attractive for impoverished workers left without a future and direction. In Hungary and Poland, there are the governments of neo-fascist parties. France was on the brink of losing the presidency to Le Pen’s party. In Sweden, considered as the model country of Western Democracy, fascism now occupies the political centre there too. The left-populist governments of Latin America are now leaving their place to their right-wing counterparts.
‘THE MOST REACTIONARY, THE MOST CHAUVANISTIC, THE MOST AGGRESSIVE’
The current faithful of the swastika, emerging in the streets of Germany some 70 years ago, are now also more receptive to the directives and tactics of the world bourgeoisie’s, to use Dimitrov’s analysis, “most reactionary, most chauvinistic, the most aggressive” sections who have begun to revise the notion of “fascism in single country” on the basis of lessons of the ascending values of the age of globalism and who are intent on not wasting an opportunity like in the past. Fascism is now making an appearance in the guise of a world system. There must be some meaning to increasing frequency with which the swastika is seen, to the rise to the top of My Struggle in the list of bestsellers, to the possibility of open fascist mass festivals and to the migrant hunt.
However, it will be exceedingly limiting to conceptualise new fascism as the function of parties openly defining themselves as such or of their animated members. The police carrying out the midweek raids of the home and the party offices of Melanchon, the leftist leader of the France Unbowed alliance, which won almost as much votes as other parties in the last presidential elections in France, is aligned with the liberal institutions of Macron who was ushered into power as part of a desperate attempt against Le Pen in the same elections. Melanchon’s a-la de Gaulle riposte that “I am the Republic, I am a parliamentarian. We are not a gang,” in conditions where the Republic is being destroyed not by the fascist party but by its liberal guardians itself struck as extremely romantic and nostalgic. In today’s world when the states, no matter who the government is, have been degenerating democratic customs, and when the traditional system of law together with the parliament has been losing altitude thereby turning states into gangs one by one, we cannot bypass without also underlying the similarity between the cries of “we are the Republic, we are not a gang” and the reflexes of the main opposition [in Turkey] who, unaware of what is going on its own country, thinks it is still living in old Turkey, in the Republican regime.
And another thing we cannot bypass without underlying is the beginning of the spread of the conviction amongst ruling classes, who once could not rule without representational democracy, that there no longer are conditions necessitating rule by representational democracy, and the ensuing of states turning into gangs to differing dosages in different countries. In China, where public services are being either smashed or limited through the subjection of its own citizens to social security grading, even though it has never espoused a universal category of ‘every citizen is born equal,’ a gain of the French revolution, to the extent that it has been in European countries, at least the equality pledged by its recent ancestors who completed a revolution in 1949 is being undermined by a point-based system. As such, while a foul-smelling pipeline is being concocted to the channel opened by the children of Robespierre, Mao’s bones are also somewhat pained.
It was the very same China who has detained Interpol’s Chinese president and declared his resignation on his behalf to the world. The reason why the country of Confucius’ grace could get so close to Saudi coarseness, that has made a name for itself with its normlessness and lack of tact and from which the kind of lack of recognition of any boundary can be expected as seen in the recklessness involved in kidnapping the Lebanese Prime Minister and killing a person in their consulate in Turkey, is the deterioration of the alignments of the world.
It is easier now to say that we cannot account for the contribution of the Turley’s prime minister of the time (Tayyip Erdoğan) intent on overturning the order of inter-state relationships by insulting the erstwhile bureaucratic cadres running international relations, in other words, the diplomats, as ‘mon cheers,’ in the deterioration of the alignments by appeal to his personal habits and that his overtures coincided with the earlier hours [of this process] without the general tendency has been this evident. Trump is not citing practice in Turkey as an example of nothing. Or, for instance, he is not uttering words implying that the priority is oil and armaments and all kinds of trade in his statement that he cannot review the relations with Saudi Arabia because of Khashoggi.
Since the acceptance of ‘mon charism,’ the kidnappings and killings of individuals by countries from others, confiscation of their property, erecting walls on borders, ringfencing geographies against migrants, living spaces to those who use it has been on the rise.
Hitler had claimed that fascism would last 1000 years. Yet when Nazism was crushed by the tanks of Red Army, its rule in power had lasted a grand total of 12 years. Another thing we understand now is that this grand claim was not only a haphazard one. That different wings of the class ruling the world always are bound with this very same duty whether it is expressed a bit earlier by some and a bit later by others. That, apart from periods when this duty is not pronounced due to class struggle, it ever remains as a tummy ache of savage capitalism latent in its body ready to alarm; relapsing quickly to run riot. The smashing of past gains without rule and tact, where all states turn into bandits… this is not local; the dream of a global fascism where no one can emerge as elements of a new balance, establish a multipolar world but the midwife of savage wars with potential to turn not only itself but the world into ruin precisely because of this, is provoking this relapse.
Despite all its irrationality, it seems that fascism has the judgement to derive lessons from its past. The sound of the scourge’s steps strengthening its action with experience is now heard closer.
Yet this is also a time when Dolores Ibarruru’s voice crying ‘No Pasaran’ against Franco resonates. There is not only the experience of fascism but that of those who fought against it too. Let us be mindful of this too.